As we continued on our journey, I felt more relaxed with Phillips and I needed to give him some explanation about my behavior, about even the nature of my mission, "Phillips, I’m sorry I offended you by taking so long to respond to your offer about sharing your fox hole with you."
“I’m sure you have your reasons, no need to explain yourself to me,” as he draws a cigarette from it’s pack. No, I want to explain myself, I think it’s very important in building a trust between us.”
Cuffing his hand to block the cold wind he lights his cigarette, “Okay if you want to.”
“I was reminded about Billy Simpson on Grad night, Oh my god that obviously still haunts me."
“What happened?” asking with sincerity.
“Well I’ve tried to put all of that out of my mind for years and I had managed to block it out, well until now. When you said body heat, I guess it set off a trigger.”
“Are you sure you want to talk about it?”
“Normally I would probably say no, but I feel so at ease with you. And I do need to get it out of my system, I just can’t leave it stuck deep down anymore. I mean look at how it controls my behavior, maybe it’s been the underlying factor that has sabotaged my personal life.
Taking a deep breath, as I know I’m about to relive one the worst moments of my life, "Well, I – I was in high school at the time. My Dad, who was in the military was stationed in one place for a couple of years for a change, so I actually had time to make friends at school. We had a school picnic that afternoon before grad night. I had a picnic table with several other students.
Billy Simpson wasn’t my boy friend, but I knew he wanted to be. He sat on one side of me and my best friend Abby Turner on my other side. I can so clearly imagine myself in that park again, as clearly as reality itself. The trees, the green grass, the sun light filtering though the tree leaves. The light summer breeze on my face, the smell of the food. Abby nudges me, “Here try some of this potato salad, it’s really good,” she throws a large gob on my paper plate.
I look at it with a frown, “You know I can’t eat all that.”
“What, you don’t want to ruin your figure? Ava, you are the prettiest girl in school, don’t worry about it.”
“It’s not that, I have to stay in my weight class for training.”
“I swear, your the only girl I’ve ever know that’s obsessed with working out.”
“You can put me in a leg lock anytime,” Billy with his slimy little remark and a sly smile.
At the time I didn’t know what he meant. I was isolated for much of my school years, always in private individual schooling. So my social skills were a little retarded. Then suddenly the beautiful sunlight suddenly dims. I look up into the sky and observe some dark clouds coming our way.
As I take s sip of my punch. I begin to wonder if it’s going to rain? Then a rumble reverberates from the distant hills. It wasn’t long before lightning and thunder start making what was a festive clear and sunny day into something dark and depressing.
Abby panicked, “That storm is coming straight at us and the buses won’t come for another hour yet!” Then the rain starts pouring down. Everyone scrambles trying to find the thickest tree to hide under. Billy grabs me by the hand, "This way, " he yells.
He leads me to the rear of the park to a chain linked fence. I can hear Abby yelling, “Ava where are you going?!”
He easily jumps over it, “Come on! My friend lives right over here,” Billy pointing.
I look back at Abby, she’s a little heavy set, I don’t think she can jump this fence, it’s at least 6 feet high. Luckily, I’m wearing my blue jeans. The tomboy in me was ripping to come out anyway, “I’m going to Billie’s friend’s house, I’ll be alright!”
Well that’s me, free spirited and adventurous. So like a spider I leap on the fence and crawl right over it landing on the other side with no problem.
“Ava, Come back!” Abby still screaming at me.
“Follow me,” Billy running down a dirt path behind several houses, dogs barking, thunder sounding and wind blowing. I manage to keep up with him. We jump a smaller wooden fence and enter a small wooden tool shed to get out of the pouring rain. We’re absolutely soaked. We’re in the back yard of his friends house I’m guessing. He peers toward the rear of the home, “Come on!” We streak across the back yard up to the back door. The lock on the back door clicks and someone opens the door, I think it’s his friend.
Billy waves for me to follow him in through the kitchen, then into the living room. I’m standing there absolutely drenched and shivering, his friend comes out with a thick warm blanket and hands it to me. I quickly wrap it around myself.
His friend is wearing a dingy tank top undershirt. I notice he’s partially covered in tattoos. A cigarette hangs on the corner of his mouth. Now that I see him up close he’s much older than Billy.
“This is my friend Bobby.”
“Hi Bobby I’m Ava,” I particularly didn’t like the way he’s looking at me, he’s making me feel very uncomfortable.
“How you doing, do you want a drink,” bobby ask.
“Do you have some hot coco?” I ask.
Billy and Bobby look at each other chuckling. Bobby responds, “Sure, I’ve got some hot coco. Billie take her to the spare room, she looks like she’s freezing to death.”
I follow Billie to another room. He turns on a radio and some heavy metal music starts blaring. "Have a seat," he points to this cool wicker chair. So I huddle up in the thick blanket and make myself a home on the chair. My hair is a disaster. I try to untangle it with my fingers.
Bobby enters with a cup of hot coco and hands it to me. I take a sip, “This taste funny.”
“I think its some cheap brand that was on sale.”Bobby says.
I take another sip trying to warm up. I was so drenched and shivering.
“I got a dryer, you two should give me your clothes so I can dry them.” Bobby suggest casually.
“You don’t mind sharing the blanket do you?”
He said we needed to share body heat he said, so I wouldn’t get sick. I can’t believe how stupid I was! And then when he tried to get under the blanket with me – that’s when I knew something was wrong. It was awful, that son of a bitch tried to to have sex with me! He attempted to hold me down on a couch, I screamed at him to let me go, to leave me alone! I had to stop him that’s when the training I received in martial arts kicked in, and I began to fight back. I completely beat the hell out of him! When his friend Bobby rushed into the room I threw the cup of hot coco in his face, he screamed and fell to his knees with his hands over his face. I ran as fast as I could."
“I really feel bad I brought back these terrible memories,” Phillips said.
"Oh don’t, I am so fortunate my Dad made sure I could take care of myself. I hated Billy with a passion after that, neither one of us every talked to each other again, nor did I tell anyone about the incident. I got such satisfaction out of kicking his ass. I had him on his knees begging for me to stop. He lost two front teeth, I also busted his nose, cracked a rib, and fractured his arm in two places.
I remember he told everyone at school he got jumped by a street gang, everyone believed him because his face was so busted up, it looked as if three guys worked him over. I wanted so badly to report him to the police. But I was so afraid of what everyone would think, and what my Dad might do.
My friend Abby saw him at super market many years ago. She said scars were still very visible over his eyes, nose and lip. I’m sure every time he looks into a mirror he’s reminded of his unspeakable attempt. Billy was very damn lucky, I couldn’t told my Dad. With his connections in the judicial system, Billy would of done hard time."
“That’s an incredible story,” Phillips says, he notices a tear on the corner of my eye. He gently wipes it away. I can feel such compassion from him. I feel myself being drawn closer to him. I've shared something with him, something very private to me. Our eyes join at this special moment.
I kind of lean on him, “You know something, other than my high school best friend Abby, your the only other person I’ve ever told that story to.”
The way he looked at me, I know he was really taken by that fact. I shared something so sensitive to me. Something only one other person on this world knew. He made me open up to him in a way I could never have told my Dad. I’m loving the close connections I feeling with this man.